“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” ~ Aristotle.
St Ronan’s Primary School are the first school in Northern Ireland to receive Children in Crossfire’s Gold Award for nurturing compassionate global citizens.
The primary school in Newry, County Down have brought their students through The Educating the Heart programme, a programme designed to help students consider the actions they can take to help create a fairer and more compassionate world. As a result, the students have been learning about poverty and wealth inequality, climate change and ways to keep our planet happy and healthy. One teacher, Caolan Byrne, who was one of two teachers who attended Children in Crossfire’s accredited CPD programme, talks about some of the ways the students are demonstrating compassionate global citizenship:
“Pupils have been working locally to have an impact globally. Two recent examples would be:
*We have now become a school where we no longer use single-use plastic. All pupils and staff were provided with a free refillable bottle from N Ireland water. This was initiated by the news of the plastic ocean documentary and how whales were dying and tonnes of plastic was being found inside them.
*Pupils got behind the Iceland Advert about palm oil and how orangutans’ homes were being destroyed due to the destruction of their environments We all wrote letters to the local supermarkets and one pupil went to the customer service desk to speak to a manager!! We also sent a response to Tesco, M&S and Iceland HQs.
“The staff have noticed a change in how the students respond to the issues, with more urgency, a desire to make change and the belief that they can.”
In addition to issue-based action, the Children in Crossfire programme also encourages schools to consider how pupil wellbeing is a key part of change-making and provides opportunities to support students health and wellbeing as they learn about a complex and ever-changing world.
Congratulations to all the staff and students in St Ronan’s Primary School, and to their Partner school, Bridge Integrated Primary School for all the work they’ve done to create the students our world needs most.